Each year, the École de joaillerie de Montréal welcomes many international students, including many people coming from France. We want to introduce three students who have made the choice to relocate in Montreal in order to join our program: Charline Harand, Louison Grymonpré and Quentin Lecomte. They accepted to share their experience with us.
Charline grew up in the Yvelines region, near Paris. After completing her French baccalaureate in literature, she came to Quebec in order to pursue her studies at the École de joaillerie de Montréal. Already in her third year, Charline will be completing the college program this coming spring.
Originally from Lille, in Northern France, Louison did not waste any time: after completing her French baccalaureate in June 2017, she moved to Montreal the following month. She spent her first year studying at the Collège de Rosemont in humanities, and then transferred to the Cégep du Vieux Montréal in 2018 for the jewellery program.
Quentin is originally from Nantes. A craftsmen with multiple abilities, he has a diploma in artisanal knife making and was also trained in cabinet making and sculpture. Now that he is in Montreal, he is currently completing his very first semester in our jewellery college program.
How did you discover our programs?
Charline – I found the information online, as I was exploring various programs offered all over the world.
Louison – I discovered the jewellery program when I started to consider switching programs after studying psychology for one year, at the Collège de Rosemont. I wanted to try something less theory heavy.
Quentin – I discovered the program though the Cégep du Vieux Montréal.
How was the registration process?
Charline – I did my research, and I went through the SRAM in order to apply at the Cégep du Vieux Montréal.
Louison – I had a meeting with my API at the Collège de Rosemont, and thus got help with the transfer process. I got into the program in the second iteration of the registration period, in March.
Quentin – I applied to the Cégep du Vieux Montréal through the SRAM.
Why did you choose Montreal?
Charline – In the first place, I wanted to move to a country where people spoke English. I had just spent a full year in London and I wanted to keep practicing! I thought that Montreal was a good in between, since people speak both French and English. I also chose Montreal for the low cost of education, especially at the cégep level.
Louison – I wanted to get out of France. But I was scared to find myself alone in a new country. I decided to come to Montreal to avoid the language barrier, and also because I have an aunt who lives here. Moreover, the many partnerships between France and Quebec can be very reassuring.
Quentin – I chose Montreal because I have friends and family here and because of its bilingualism, which is an aspect that I particularly like.
Is it hard to integrate Quebec’s school system?
Charline – After completing a general French baccalaureate, integrating Quebec’s system is very easy. The atmosphere is much more relaxed in a way that favours learning, and teachers are always there to help. If you are experiencing difficulties, they will push you in the right direction, while in France teachers will make you feel like you are a failure.
Louison – I consciously left the French education system because I found it to be too traditional, theory heavy and generally limited. What I discovered here is a much more malleable system that focuses more on practical learning. With a bit of determination and open-mindedness, it is quite easy to adapt to Quebec’s system.
Quentin – I have had no difficulty whatsoever, everything is well explained.
Do you have any advice to dive to future international students?
Charline – Something VERY important is to make sure that your immigration documents are valid, and to request your visa a long time in advance. Administrative work can take a long time and I personally had some trouble because of my lack of rigour. Another piece of advice would be to get a good winter jacket!
Louison – Never hesitate to ask for help or for information.
Quentin – Make sure to double check all of your administrative documents, and try to find an apartment before getting here. And don’t stress!
What aspect of this new experience do you enjoy the most?
Charline – Honestly, the learning experience, which is entirely different from the French school system. Also, Montreal’s bilingualism, because although your classes are in French, there are always Anglophone Quebeckers at school or in your network with whom you can speak English!
Louison – The general life and school atmosphere is much less stressful. It is always possible to discuss any issue you may be having with your professors, they are always open to dialogue. As a woman, I have never felt this safe on the streets, on public transportation or at school. Many factors make life easier and better here. I am less tired and stressed, and that has a positive impact on my work.
Quentin – Being accepted as I am, and thus being able to have a clearer vision of what I will do in the future.
What are your plans for after you finish your studies? Do you consider staying in Quebec?
Charline – Once I get my diploma, I want to go back to France and start a BTS technical degree in design, with an apprenticeship. More precisely, I would study design and work part-time in a business of my choice (jewellery related, of course). I think this is a good way to gain experience in the field while learning 3D design, which represents the future, in my opinion!
Louison – I am determined to complete this program. However, I don’t know if I will be doing this for a living, life is too hard to predict for me to make definite plans at this point. That being said, Montreal is definitely the city in which I feel the most welcome. I would love to stay here, enjoy a good quality of life and do something I enjoy.
Quentin – I would like to start my own business. I don’t know if I will stay in Quebec. I travel a lot, and I don’t know yet where I will decide to settle.